PH gov’t reiterates ‘no ransom’ policy amid Abu Sayyaf threat
PH gov’t reiterates ‘no ransom’ policy amid Abu Sayyaf threat
Malacañang stands firm on its policy two days after the Abu Sayyaf set a one-month deadline on its ransom payment demand for the release of 3 foreigners

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Saturday, March 12, expressed confidence in the capability of Philippine authorities to recover the 3 foreigners held by the Abu Sayyaf group, which has threatened to kill the hostages if its ransom payment demand is not met.

In an interview on radio dzRB on Saturday, March 12, Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, reiterated the government’s position not to negotiate with terrorist groups.

Quezon said the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is keeping close contact with the governments of Canada and Norway, whose nationals are being held by the Abu Sayyaf.

“Let us remain committed to our confidence in our Armed Forces and police to handle the situation; to our DFA to properly coordinate and inform foreign governments and the families of those involved. And let us all say a silent prayer that these visitors to our country remain safe and that they will be rescued at the soonest possible time,” Quezon said.

In a video released on March 10, the Abu Sayyaf demanded P1 billion ($21 million) for each of the 3 foreigners: Canadian tourists John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad. The victims were shown saying they would be killed if ransom was not paid.

The 3, along with Filipino Marites Flor, were abducted from a resort on Samal Island, Davao del Norte, in September.

The Palace official said the Philippine government’s position on not negotiating with terrorists is consistent with the stand taken by other governments.

Quezon likened ransom payment to giving the Abu Sayyaf “financial rewards for their criminality” which would only fund their criminal activities.

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